NEW YORK (March 29, 2018) —The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) condemns the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover’s official visit to whitewash the crimes of Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro, and calls on the UNICEF executive director Henrietta H. Fore to strip Glover of his official status.
This Saturday in Caracas, Glover praised Maduro’s government for “advancing humanity through education, health, and other aspects that honor human kind.” Meanwhile, the dictatorship’s economic policies have brought over 30 million Venezuelans into the worst humanitarian crisis in the 200-year history of the country. In 2017, Venezuelans lost 24 pounds in average due to hunger and undernourishment and, according to NGO Caritas, 33% of Venezuela’s 10 million child population has stunted growth.
“The Venezuelan regime has long attempted to whitewash its reputation by using celebrities, including Sean Penn, Lukas Haas, Jamie Foxx, and Harry Belafonte, who have behaved as fellow travelers, voicing their support for this brutal regime. But the moment Danny Glover travels to Venezuela using the seal of the United Nations’ highest office that deals with children, then Glover’s statements deserve higher scrutiny,” said HRF president Thor Halvorssen.
“Danny Glover has behaved unspeakably in his support for the Venezuelan regime and his motivation is unbridled greed. Eleven years ago, Glover received close to 20 million dollars from the Venezuelan regime to produce a film that was never made, and the funds have yet to be returned to the Venezuelan people. The payment was a crude payoff, masked as a production budget, in order to ensure that Glover was a permanent public relations agent for the Venezuelan government. In doing so, Glover violated American laws regarding registration as a foreign agent. But most of all, he lost all credibility as a spokesperson for human rights,” said Halvorssen.
The devastation brought to Venezuela by Maduro’s government has been denounced and condemned by all major international organizations and human rights groups. Currency controls and price controls across the board have caused hyperinflation and massive shortages of basic goods such as meats, sugar, eggs and toilet paper, as well as medicines. Likewise, political rights have been heavily restricted, banning meaningful political participation for Venezuelans who do not belong to Maduro’s party, and generating over 300 prisoners of conscience. These prisoners include opposition leader Leopoldo López and, until recently, mayor Antonio Ledezma, who is currently in exile and will speak about Venezuela at the upcoming 2018 Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway, a conference produced by HRF.
“Glover’s assertions are outrageous and indefensible. He should be fired from his UNICEF position immediately and with prejudice. Maduro’s horrendous human rights record is widely known worldwide at this point, and Glover’s support shows that he is both financially invested and complicit in the misery of millions of starving Venezuelans,” said HRF chairman Garry Kasparov. “Glover has no place anywhere near UNICEF. He should be stripped of his honorary UN status if UNICEF is to maintain any credibility in its reporting about the situation of children worldwide,” said Kasparov.
Early this year, the International Criminal Court in The Hague (ICC), Netherlands, opened an investigation against the Venezuelan regime for crimes against humanity, while the Organization of American States (OAS) has opened a commission to investigate human rights violations committed by the regime and refer their results to the ICC in The Hague.
The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.
Call on the UNICEF Executive Board to strip Danny Glover of his Goodwill Ambassador title.